Walking stretches your mind and your soul. It is dynamic mind & body process which creates a sense of rhythm. As you listen to your own silent rhythm, the pulse of life, your own heartbeat – you become whole, a complete man – fit in Mind, Body and Soul.
Walking energizes you, awakens you and stills your mind to fully relax. With the change of mind your moods change and you experience a physical and a spiritual upliftment. As you relax, your perception change and you reach from the everyday conscious mind to your highest level of mind – the intuitive mind. Your subconscious cuts through the mental clutter, releasing latent vitality and creativity, transcending traditional linear thinking and helping you find a creative solution.
There are many ways you could possibly benefit yourselves from i.e. an exercise as simple as morning walk. In today’s irritatingly fast world, you deprive yourself of the much needed oxygen that is anyways getting depleted with the time. The earliest hours in the morning would probably give you fresh oxygen and quality time to spend with the greenery and beauty around you that perhaps only writers and poets around you seem to notice.
The oxygen that you get early in the morning also gives you great amount of energy especially to your joints. The movement in your legs releases good cholesterol in your blood, opening up some of the “chakras” or channels of energy. By constantly moving your joints, you increase your blood circulation in a way that can only be completed with your daily morning walk.
Awareness walking is a walking meditation. Focusing on the rhythm of the breath and rhythm of each step, we induce a state of a deep relaxation and self awareness. Adding mind-body technique to walking, we can provide greater relaxation and stress management, and can turn a routine walk into a creative & rejuvenating experience.
Ordinarily, in today’s hectic world, its quite possible that amidst so much that’s happening around you, makes you feel that an ideal life is but a living dream (which may remain as one) and you tend to lose out on great many things that the future holds for you. A great walk in the woods while admiring nature talks to you in many ways than one. For many of us this may be one of those things for which you either need luck or perhaps the time. And most of us believe that these are never in one’s grasp.
Much of the time our bodies are sluggish and our blood never gets an airing. Oxygen is rarely allowed to surge through our veins making us feel energetic, alive and vital. But exercise can change all that. It rejuvenates and revitalizes the body’s cells, releasing muscular tension and relishing our energy levels. Exercise motivates, energizes and empowers. “The easiest way to change yourself is physically”. ‘Physical change quick’. So kick, start your day with a morning walk. They will tone and energizes you and connect you with your inner rhythms. Walking decreases stress hormones and increases relaxation hormones (beta-endorphins) which elevate your mood and increase your sense of well being.
Walking is natural mood elevator. It helps in promoting feelings of happiness and can ease mild depression. Walking gets you going, revs up your circulation and gives you the energy to get through the day.
The human body is the ultimate exercise machine and walking is the easiest and safest way for most people to re-energizes their bodies and burn away the harmful affects of stress. In other words, to experience health, fitness and deep relaxation, walk.
Walking can be a whole philosophy of life. After all, from the moment we rise in the morning till we climb into bed at night, we are on and off our feet.
MORNING WALK AS EXERCISE
This is perhaps the most overlooked and neglected form of exercise. Because it sounds and look easy, most of us do not bother to walk, but prefer to sign up for expensive aerobic classes and spend a lot of time in a gym.
We recommend walking as exercise since it costs nothing, requires no partner and expensive gadgets, but will burn nearly the same calories as jogging does. It does not burden the body, instead if done in calm and peaceful surroundings like a park or country road, it will let off the tension in your mind and body.
Before you use walking as exercise
Make sure you do not eat an hour before going out for a walk. Digesting takes a lot of energy from the body. If you exercise right away after eating, you are going to overburden yourself. Fruits or juices are okay, since they do not tax the system as much.
Exercise alone will not make you healthy. No amount of walking or jogging will help the body if you do not eat properly or have greater affection with cigarettes and alcohol.
It doesn’t really matter when you do it. Although we acknowledge that an early morning walk is better because the air is significantly fresher, for people who only have the afternoon to do it, it is okay.
Avoid busy roads. You need fresh air with green & clean surroundings. The aim is to relax the mind as well as exercise the body. If you are taking more carbon dioxide than oxygen, you are harming your body. So, find a nice, peaceful and green place.
How to do it
Actually, the human body is designed to walk, no one should be taught how to do it. However, for walking as exercise to give more impact, this is our recommendation
Get at least 30 minutes walk everyday. Keep your pace at 3 to 5 miles an hour.
Vary your routes so that you are not walking on flat ground.
If you cannot maintain brisk pace, this is what you should do. Alternate between a 2 minutes brisk walk with a more comfortable pace for the next 2 minutes. After that 2 minutes “rest”, pick up your pace again. If you can maintain brisk walk, do it for approximately 20 minutes. If you cannot allocate 30 minutes a day, don’t worry. The most important thing is to do it regularly. Walking as exercise will restore your peace of mind, make your blood pressure normal and control your appetite. It is better than any pills invented by mankind.
HOW WALKING AFFECTS YOUR BODY COMPONENTS
Lets learn how walking affects our body components. It affects the five components of fitness:
BODY COMPOSITION :
Walking four times a weak, 45 minutes each time, the average person can lose 18 pounds in a year with no change in diet. Walking can help you trim fat as well as tone your muscles.
CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS : Walking, at any level or speed, two or three times a weak for at least 20 minutes increases cardiovascular strength. By increasing the strength of your heart and lungs, you increase your ability not only to exercise longer and harder but also to perform everyday task without tiring.
FLEXIBILITY: As with any endurance activity, walking doesn’t significantly increase your flexibility. Every activity uses certain muscles groups more than others. Therefore you don’t stretch the muscles that walking uses extensively. They’ll tighten, straighten and perhaps cause pains or strains. These exercises are vital for remaining free injury.
MUSCULAR ENDURANCE: All walkers develop a moderate amount of endurance, which enables them to exercise longer before becoming exhausted. Race walker have high endurance comparable to that of marathon runners. Walking helps build your ability to do something longer without fatigue.
MUSCULAR STRENGTH: You will gain muscular strength with walking but probably not enough for well rounded fitness. Muscles that get an extra workout in walking include the entire back of the leg, calves, hamstrings, and gluteus. You will use muscles in the back of shoulders when you swing your arms. Walking provides other physical benefits and prevents dangers associated with other types of exercise. Walking is a low-impact exercise, which puts less strain on bones and tissues.
BENEFITS OF WALKING
Walking brings significant health benefits to body and mind. Research shows that regular walking contributes much to your overall health and fitness in important ways:
Strengthens your heart
Delays or prevents major diseases or illness
Reduces blood pressure and the risk of stroke
Strengthens joints and bones
Helps control weight
Improves mood and self-esteem
Contributes to “brain fitness”
Gives you energy and a good night’s rest
Relieves stress and worry
Improves balance and circulation
Boosts immune system
WALKING IS THE BEST MEDICINE
It works to build fitness, slimness and cardiovascular health and helps with relaxation.
WALKING AND BACK PAIN
Taking a walk regularly is one of the best things you can do for your back. It promotes muscular development, increases circulation, and speeds up the release of endorphins which provide a natural “high”.
WALKING AND OSTEOPOROSIS
As we get older there is a gradual decrease in skeletal strength. The mineral content of bones decreases and their texture becomes thinner. And because the bones are too porous and brittle, they are more likely to fracture. This condition is known as osteoporosis.
Calcium and exercise are the keys to the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Walking may help you combat it. It is the easiest and safest form of exercise for people of all ages. The studies show that a walk of just half an hour, four times a week, can help prevent osteoporosis.
WALKING AND CIGARETTE SMOKING
It has been seen that the people who are active and fit are not so likely to smoke as those people who are sedentary and less fit. Although walking does not actually stop people from smoking, the regular routine of walking can be applied as a positive habit to replace the negative habit of smoking.
In order to improve your general health, you must find the willpower to stop. Smoking causes feelings of fatigue because it impairs the delivery of oxygen to the cells of all the body’s organs, destroys vitamin c in the body, impairing the immune system and increases the amount of carbon monoxide in the bloodstream, leading to heart and lung disorders and cancer.
WALKING AND BLOOD PRESSURE
Regular walking can reduce high blood pressure – hypertension – by making the heart work more efficiently and by improving the circulation. It has been shown that blood pressure can be reduced by weight loss. Regular walking combined with a low fat, high fiber-diet is an excellent form of weight control. There are other ways in which you can help yourself to reduce high blood pressure:-
Do not smoke.
Decrease your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
And make sure your diet is low in salt, sugar and fat.
WALKING AND CHOLESTEROL
Cholesterol is present not only in the bloodstream but in all of the body’s tissues. Most of the cholesterol in the bloodstream is made in the body, but some foods which we contain cholesterol (Dietary cholesterol).
Cholesterol is transported in the blood by lipoproteins. There are two types of lipoproteins – High density (HDLs) and Low density (LDLs). HDLs are sometimes called “good” and LDLs “bad” cholesterol. The higher your HDL level the lower the risk of heart disease.
Stress can also affect your cholesterol levels. Regular walking can increase the levels of “good” cholesterol in the blood, reducing chances of a heart attack. So try to avoid stress – and relax. Go for a walk.
WALKING AND HEART
Regular walking may reduce the risk of a heart attack by half. It can help to lower the risk of coronary heart diseases as there is a link between vigorous physical exercise and a low incidence of heart failure.
Although regular, vigorous exercise can reduce the risk of developing coronary heart diseases, it cannot provide immunity. So many other factors have to be considered. And another way in which you can help yourself is by having a healthy and balanced diet.
WALKING ANG SELF CONFIDENCE
When you feel fit and healthy your self-confidence increases and you feel more able to cope with the demands mode on you. Time spent walking means time taken off from the stresses of daily life. As a result you feel less anxious. Regular exercise can increase the levels of endorphins – naturally secreted hormones – that appear to work in the brain, increasing a sense of well being. And this feeling of contentment in turn increase your Self confidence.